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How to Start a Marriage Enrichment Group

by Bob and Lane Powell

What makes a group a Marriage Enrichment Group?

  • Small group of not more than 10 couples that commits to meet regularly over an extended period of time (at least 6 mos or more). Size somewhat determines where you want to meet: church, community center, or homes.

  • No limit on age or stage of marriage – or even whether the couple is married or a committed partnership.

  • Couples committed to prioritizing their couple time by attending regularly.

  • Couples willing to “work on their relationship,” not just socialize.

  • A commitment to confidentiality

  • An element of fun

How does a Marriage Enrichment Group differ from a skills-building group?

A Marriage Enrichment Group:

  • Goes beyond skills to a sense of positive regard and intentionality (goal setting)

  • Provides ongoing opportunities to see positive couple interaction modeled, to practice new skills, dialog with your partner about important couple issues, and prioritize the relationship

  • Provides group support, empathy, encouragement, and a sense that “nobody’s perfect” (not even the leaders)

What qualities of leadership do you need?

  • Willingness to open own relationship to others

  • Willingness to encourage and implement couple and group dialog (not just share information or handouts)

  • Willingness to provide structure so that the group can meet regularly and “stay focused.”

  • Determination to encourage shared leadership in the group

What resources are available for Marriage Enrichment Groups?

  • Membership in ACME – for self and couples in the group (we always ask that couples join ACME as a way of committing and affirming the process.)

  • Catron’s workbook on MEGS - " A Guide for Leaders of Ongoing Enrichment Groups"

  • “Exercises for Intimacy” notebook and CD

  • Leader training opportunities

What do you need to get started?

  • Desire for a strong and growing relationship (and a belief that you CAN “work on a relationship”)

  • Willingness to facilitate

  • Friends to invite

  • Place to meet

  • Willingness to be flexible and have fun!

What “problems” may you encounter?

  1. Couples who want/need therapy instead of enrichment

  2. Lack of commitment to the group

  3. Avoidance of intimacy 

  4. Scheduling of meetings

  5. Childcare needs (ex: Couple who brought baby to meeting)


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